June 14, 2006
Outfielder Steven Blackwood is one of four Yellow Jacket senior leaders for the Yellow Jackets. Here is his diary from Wednesday, June 14.
“Our journey to Omaha began early this morning when we left Russ Chandler Stadium. We had a charter flight, which is a different experience for the baseball team. We don’t take too many road trips that aren’t on a bus, but when we do fly, it’s commercial. It was nice to have just the team on the plane, and the flight attendants and everyone did a great job taking care of us.
“Normally, when we fly, we have to go to the counter and check in and go through security. We have to carry and check our bags, and the freshmen are responsible for the equipment, which all has to be checked as baggage. Today we had airline staff take care of all our luggage and equipment, so this was a nice change.
“When we arrived in Omaha, the bus was waiting right there at the plane. There was a local hospitality team there to greet us, and they had Krispy Kreme donuts for all the players, just another thing to make us feel special.
“From the airport, we went straight to D.J.’s Dugout, a local restaurant where they had a buffet set up for the team in a private room. There we met out local hosts, who are from the Kiwanis Club.
“After that we checked into our hotel. The first people we saw when we arrived were Dr. and Mrs. Schaffer, who are great fans. When we got inside, our bags were all laid out for us to pick up in the lobby. We quickly checked into our rooms and got ready for practice.
“We practiced at Millard West High School, the alma mater of my former teammate Kyle Bakker. Kyle has recently moved back to Omaha from Atlanta, so he was there to greet the team. There was a huge crowd of kids and local fans waiting there to get autographs and watch practice. It was incredible to see all those people there to just watch us practice. We had a fairly light workout, and then we did a lot of interviews with the local media. You can really tell that this is a huge event here in Omaha.
“Tomorrow, we have our official team practice at the stadium. That’s when I think it will really hit home that we’re at the World Series – when we get to Rosenblatt and see the stadium. When I was 14, I was fortunate enough to come here for a youth league tournament. I sat in the stands and watched a College World Series game, so it will be really exciting for me to now be on that same field as a player.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to finish my senior season and my college career than to be at the College World Series. This is what you work all year long for, and now it’s finally here.”